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It is disheartening to think that there are scammers out there who will take advantage of individuals when it comes to important things, such as one’s security and safety. Unfortunately, especially when it comes to locksmithing, there are people and businesses out there that have no problem scamming people out of their time and money. While you may not be able to stop scammers, there are several things you can do to recognize, avoid, and ultimately steer clear of locksmithing scams.
While this may not always be an option, especially in the event of a locksmithing emergency, before you decide on a locksmith make sure to do research on the company first. This can be done easily through a Google Search. There are several read flags that may present themselves right away in a locksmith's online image, whether it be through their customer reviews on Yahoo or Angie’s List, for example. When reading reviews, it is important to check a couple of different sources. Sometimes, companies will pay individuals or the review business themselves, to write or post good reviews for their company. This common dishonesty makes it imperative that you search several different review sources for the locksmith you are considering. One site might unquestioningly sing their praises, while another may offer a more realistic or truthful view of how their customers really view their business and services.
Additionally, it might be a red flag if the company’s website seems unprofessional or lacks pertinent information. A website is usually the first impression most customers will get from a new company, so most professional businesses will take the time to make sure their website matches their professional image. If you get a bad feeling after looking at a locksmithing website, notice a lack of detail, information, or credentials, then you might want to move on to a more professional locksmithing business with a more presentable website.
If you call a locksmith, the first thing you should hear when one of their representatives picks up the phone on the other end is the company name. Many locksmiths will have multiple, generic locksmithing business names tied to different numbers to give the image that they are separate locksmithing companies. In reality, all of the numbers are usually tied to one central call-center location. So, if you call and only hear a simple, “local locksmith” or some other generic phrase in leu of a company name in response to when you call, something might be fishy. Not hearing a company name right away may indicate you have called a locksmithing scam.
Some locksmithing scams will attempt to win you over by initially offering extremely low prices or price quotes that are much lower than you might expect. This is a typical tactic where they will tell you a low price, but fail to tell you the contingencies of what that price covers. For example, they may quote you $80 for services, when really, those services only include the phone call or the initial hiring of the locksmith. Then, when you have the actual appointment with the locksmith scam, they will add additional fees and only at that point claim that the initial fee only covered so much. Tacking on fees unnecessarily without being fully transparent is a very common tactic. Do not be fooled by initial, ultra-low prices.
This is not a good sign and should indicate an immediate red flag. If you notice the locksmith you have hired shows up in an unmarked vehicle, you are likely dealing with a scammer. Professional locksmiths who know what they are doing and work for a credible company will show up in a clearly marked vehicle, equipped with the tools necessary to get the job done. Additionally, a professional locksmith will show up in a uniform. If you notice that something seems off once the locksmith shows up to your home, do not shy away from asking them why they are dressed the way they are or are in an unmarked vehicle. Do not let a locksmith work on your home until you know for sure they are with a credible company that is insured. Otherwise, any damage done to your home may not be covered.
This is another common tactic locksmithing scams will try. Typically, a lock can be picked and opened with the right tools by a trained locksmith. Sometimes, however, some locks just will not budge without a more heavy-duty tool. Most locksmiths will avoid drilling a lock as much as possible because it can cause damage and also tack on expenses to the customer's bill. However, this is exactly why scammers will jump to drilling immediately with little effort to actually pick the lock as a professional would. By drilling, the scammer locksmith has an excuse to tack on hundreds and hundreds of dollars to one's bill by performing a costly and unnecessary procedure.
Pay attention to the locksmith you intend to hire and do not be afraid to ask questions right from the very start. You will want to make sure you are working with an accredited locksmith in your area for any security needs you may have. A professional locksmith will be honest and give you peace of mind every step of the way. It is well worth the extra time it takes to thoroughly vet and research locksmiths in your area to make sure you are working with a true professional.